[BASKETBALL]Phoebus leads the pack with foreign star power

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[BASKETBALL]Phoebus leads the pack with foreign star power

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About a quarter into the Korean Basketball League season, Mobis Phoebus, currently 12-4 after their 89-69 rout of Tongyang Orions Sunday, has emerged as the league’s top dog. And at the center of their surge ― the team has won five straight games ― is a foreign player who has done more than he was ever asked to.
Chris Williams, the 193-centimeter (6.3-foot) and 99-kilogram (218.3-pound) forward, is not only one of the league’s best foreign players, but also one of its most versatile.
In sports, statistics are like bikinis; they show a lot, but not everything. For his part, Williams can boast of gaudy stats. He is the only player to rank in the top-10 in three major categories ― third in scoring with 26.2 points per game; 10th in rebounds, with 9.3, and fourth in assists, with 7.4.
He leads the league in another important area. Williams averages 3.3 steals per game, nearly a full steal ahead of his closest challenger, the Orions guard Kim Seung-hyun.
Want more numbers? Williams has four triple-doubles this season. The rest of the league? None.
But as with most great players, Williams has an impact that reaches beyond the box scores.
He is one of the smallest imported players in the league, and considering that almost all foreign players are asked to play either of the low-post positions ― center or power forward ― the height disadvantage could have been too much to overcome for Williams. But he has made up for his lack of stature with an all-round and accurate attack, making nearly 60 percent of his shots, and demonstrating agility at both ends of the court.
He is that rare player who does a lot of things well: He can dribble the ball up the court to relieve pressure off his guards, he sets strong screens on high posts in pick-and-rolls for open shot opportunities and he grabs offensive rebounds.
The most remarkable aspect of Williams’ game is his on-court vision, his superb ability to find open men in situations where other imports would have tried forced and spectacular, but risky, shots.
It is Williams’ ability to get his teammates involved that has been the key to Phoebus’s success, even as the team replaced his foreign teammate Torraye Braggs with 202-centimeter center Benjamin Handlogten last month.
Handlogten has made a seamless transition ― averaging 17.9 points and 9.9 rebounds in his first seven games ― and has become a complementary sidekick for Williams, dominating the post while Williams wreaks havoc all over the court.
With the reigning rookie of the year, Yang Dong-geun, continuing to improve his point guard play and the always-reliable shooter Woo Ji-won doing his usual stuff from downtown, Mobis Phoebus is definitely the force to be reckoned with in the KBL.


by Yoo Jee-ho
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